So, there was a horse at ACCA on the weekend. Yes, a real live horse. I’ve seen horses before and when I heard that we were being asked to leave the Gestures and Procedures exhibition (which was great by the way and should be another blog post in itself) to make way for a horse I wasn’t exactly ecstatic.
This horse was visiting as a part of the Melbourne conceptual artist Bianca Hester’s major new work, Please leave these windows open overnight to enable the fans to draw in cool air during the early hours of the morning.
Seeing the horse in the white gallery space, I began to admire its beauty in a way that I never had in my years spent growing up in the country. After witnessing it poo onto the gallery floor it also clicked just how out of context this animal was.
Before the arrival of the horse there was a lady and son kicking a ball against the back wall. Video footage of them kicking a ball was also playing beside them. Although the viewer is very aware that this footage was shot inside the gallery, the impression was also created that it could have been outside somewhere; putting it back into a more likely context. While watching the horse I noticed it was being filmed from an interesting vantage point, behind a pile of dirt. It’s quite possible that a similar illusion of context was being captured at that moment. Think of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photos of dioramas at the Museum of Natural history in New York, but in Bianca’s work the viewer also sees the real thing, and it’s video of course. That was my take on it anyway; there was definitely a lot more going on in that space.
I picked up the exhibition catalogue on the way out, which talked a little about time and space as key themes, but the Co-ordinating Curator Charlotte Day does say that “outcomes from Bianca’s works are never settled in advance”.
Some other interesting things about the exhibition:
- No objects were fixed; the people in the artwork could interact fully with all inanimate objects
- There was plenty of cool stuff for them to play with, from whistles to pulley systems and rolls of gaffer tape
- True to the handwritten sign as we walked in, things did happen at random intervals